Making the world a better place, one micro action at a time
Wanting to make the world a better place and to leave a mark is a noble and admirable approach to life; nevertheless, it is also an aspiration that can be very overwhelming. This doesn’t mean it is impossible; it simply needs to be broken down into more manageable and realistic steps – micro actions. Sometimes, less is more and many have embraced the concept. I have spoken to some of them and here are three simple ways in which a big difference can be made on a small scale. Reading through it you might even discover you have made one already and haven’t even realized it.
- Donate time
When a friend is running a half-marathon to raise money for cancer or biking across town in support of a local children’s hospital and you receive an email or a Facebook prompt to donate money to help them achieve their fundraising goals, you may not always be able to do so. Perhaps you are saving up to go back to school or you simply don’t have any extra cash to give away. This doesn’t mean you can’t help make a difference.
Instead of donating money, consider donating your time and energy. In essence, time is much more valuable because you can never get it back. Be there on the finish line to cheer them on with a customized homemade T-shirt. Take the time to tell others about your friend’s efforts. Or better yet, find a cause you are passionate about and get involved, too. Participation in living-on-a-dollar-a-day campaign by Results Canada or volunteering at a local food drive are just a couple of examples of donating your time to a great cause.
- Random acts of kindness
In order to inspire this section, I asked some of my friends what they’ve done to make a difference and this is what they said:
“I gave a 5-year old kid a balloon once in Strasbourg.”
“I just saw a lady picking out of our garbage can and I stopped to invite her for dinner. I even gave her desserts to take home.”
“Always be nice and polite to strangers.”
“I often pick up someone’s tab at a coffee shop. It always makes their day.”
“Give out at least one compliment per day. It should be sincere and ideally delivered in person. For an added challenge, try to compliment a stranger who you have only fleeting contact with, like a cashier or server. It is an easy way to brighten someone’s day.”
- Channel your strengths into local initiatives
If you have a special skill, interest, hobby, or passion and can find a way to align it with initiatives that already exist you don’t have to go too far to find a way to contribute. I dare to use myself as an example in this case.
I am a Zumba Fitness instructor and often teach free demo classes at local charitable events, including the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario’s annual Dance Marathon and Ottawa’s Scoliosis Awareness Walk. At last year’s Walk I gave a little girl a promotional rubber Zumba bracelet for doing her best dancing even with a back brace. It was such a simple thing to do but it was obvious how much it made her day.
Are you really good in maths, science or another subject? Find out if there are any charities or not-for-profit organizations that work with socially weaker families whose children you could tutor in your spare time.
The list could go on and on. So find out what drives and motivates you, and channel that into the world. More often than not, it is through small and local initiatives that we have the greatest capacity to make an impact on the world we live in. Less is more.
So, what will be your micro-idea, how will you channel it into a micro-action and where can it transform the world?